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Council moves forward on fire station

LACONIA — The City Council last night approved the expenditure of $67,400 to fund the first phase of a contract with Warrenstreet Architects, Inc. of Concord to prepare a schematic design and cost estimate of the expansion and renovation of the Central Fire Station.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Roffo, working with Jonathan Halle of Warrenstreet, prepared a conceptual plan, which was presented to the council in February. Meanwhile, City Manager Scott Myers included $4.1-million to design, engineer and construct the project in his recommended budget for 2014-2015. However, a schematic design design is required for a more accurate estimate of the cost of the project.

The includes the renovation of 13,135 square feet of the existing station to serve as an apparatus bay and training area and the construction of a two-story, 12,000 square foot addition to house the administrative offices, emergency operations center and dormitory. He estimated the cost of the project at $4,187,000, more than $777,000 less than the original plan prepared in 2008.

Last week Halle told the Land and Buildings Committee of the council that for the $67,400 an estimate within five or ten percent could be prepared. If the City Council chooses to proceed with the project, the firm would prepare the construction documents required to put the work to bid for another $101,500. He said that the work could be bid later this year and construction begun as early as October. Alternatively the project could be undertaken in 2015 and completed in one construction season.
NOTE: The City Council also accepted a matching grant, consisting of $75,000 worth of in-kind services, including information technology and economic analysis, from the Orton Family Foundation to fund development of the 2017 Master Plan. Planning Director Shanna Saunders said that the grant will be matched with a cash grant of $20,000 from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, $20,000 from the Planning Department budget and $35,000 of in-kind services from the Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 01:15

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Clarification: Gilford Budget Committee has 9 at-large members

CLARIFICATION — Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn said when the town formed the Budget Committee it determined there be nine members elected at large to serve on it. The three additional seats are held by a School Board representative, a selectman, and a representative from the Gunstock Village Water District.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 11:59

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Scott Brown visits Veterans Home

TILTON — Scott Brown, one of four Republicans vying to challenge incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, visited the New Hampshire Veterans Home yesterday, just three weeks before he is set to retire as a colonel after 35 years in the United States Army.

Accompanied by his wife Gail, a former television news reporter, Brown toured the facility with Commandant Margaret LaBrecque. As the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, a seat he won in a special election following the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2010, he became the first Republican to represent the Bay State in the Senate since 1978, only to be defeated by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012. In the Senate he served on both the Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs committee.

Speaking with every veteran he passed, Brown asked their branch of service, thanked them for their sacrifice and told them of his own career with the Judge Advocate General's Corps, capped by his posting to the Pentagon. He was openly impressed by the accommodation, programs and services at the Veterans Home, which he described as "really top notch." At the library he assured Dave Clark, an minister at work on the computer, that he would donate copies of his book, "Against All Odds."

Afterward Brown recalled his own efforts to secure a veterans' hospital for New Hampshire, sparing those requiring acute treatment and care the trip to Boston, and said that "in six years Shaheen has done nothing." Instead, he said, she voted for a budget that reduced military pension, calling it "a terrible vote" and vowing "I would never have done that."

In keeping with the predominant theme of his fledgling campaign, Brown claimed that Shaheen cast "the deciding vote" for Obamacare, which he underlined as the "number 1 A issue." He said that he would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, while insisting that he believes everyone should have access to healthcare, proposed allowing the separate states to design systems for providing it. "Do what the states want," he said. "The states do it better."

Brown is competing with former United States Congressman and Senator Bob Smith, Former New Hampshire State Senator Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman for the GOP nomination.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 01:04

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Route 11A intersection work to begin on June 1

GILFORD — The state Department of Transportation will begin construction on the intersection of Route 11A and Schoolhouse Hill Road on June 1,  the town administrator said yesterday.

The project is expected to improve the sight lines through the intersection to reduce the number of accidents.

According to William Oldenburg of the N.H. Department Transportation who spoke at a public hearing about the project in 2012, there were 28 accidents at the intersection from 2002 through 2009 that resulted in one death (in 2010), and 17 injuries.

According to the DOT website, the project is was awarded to SUR Inc. of Rochester for $454,452 — all of which is paid through a federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.

One of the project's early engineers, William Dugas, said yesterday the intersection poses a number of challenges, including a stone wall on the Schoolhouse Hill side of Route 11A and the Gunstock Brook across the road. He said the combination of the two plus the steep slopes meant it had to be scaled back some from what the DOT initially wanted.

Dugas said the final scope will include relocating some of the guardrails for improved visibility. Additionally, the Gilford Department of Public Works has already removed much of the brush that was partially obstructing the sight line.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said initially it had been hoped that the project would begin after the close of the school year, but noted waiting till then might have meant it  might not be completed during summer season.

Dunn said traffic control will be provided by town police and SUR traffic control.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:36

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